He said: Life isn't about who you know, it's about WHO YOU HELP.
I've come to better understand this principle and why it works. But it's taken me time, and thankfully, I've been able to be mentored by one of the most generous people in the world: the marketing legend, Joe Polish.
In August of 2017, I joined Joe's exclusive entrepreneurial mastermind, Genius Network. The purpose of Genius Network is to connect people who transform industries with other "industry transformers," for the purpose of creating 10X or even 100X collaborations.
I went to my first Genius Network (25K) Meeting in September of 2017. One conversation at that event still continues to stick out.
Joe was talking about the psychological upgrade that can and does occur when someone invests in themselves. In response to Joe's remarks, several people in the meeting talked about how they themselves insure they get a positive return on their $25,000 investment, which is the cost of being a part of Genius Network.
The conversation struck me as slightly weird. But I didn't comment on my thoughts for a few weeks.
Weeks later I texted Joe and shared with him some of my thoughts related to that conversation, and related it to some of the things I'd been learning lately.
Specifically, I had been reading Adam Grant's book, Give and Take, which is all about how the most successful people in the world focus on giving, not on taking.
Grant's book and scientific findings resonated with a quote that Joe often says in his Genius Network meetings: Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.
So I asked Joe: Why are people concerned about making a "return" on their investment? That seems like a question posed by "takers," not a question posed by "givers."
Joe responded that he himself, a person who invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in his own relationships and self-improvement, never asks himself that question.
He doesn't ask himself the question for two very specific reasons:
- He knows the very act of "signing the check" in his own personal development acts as a psychological upgrade, shattering his subconscious assumptions about what he believes he deserves. By investing in himself, he transforms and upgrades his subconscious beliefs, allowing himself to live and act from a higher plane. That alone leads to 10X or bigger returns. As Dr. David Hawkins explains in his book, Letting Go: "The unconscious will allow us to have only what we believe we deserve. The more we hang on to our negativity and small self-image that results, the less we think we deserve... If we have a small view of ourselves, then what we deserve is poverty. And our unconscious will see to it that we have that actuality..." The psychological upgrade is all about shattering and upgrading subconscious beliefs about what you believe you deserve.
- He is a giver. And thus, when he makes an investment in himself, or in a relationship, the goal isn't primarily on what he can get, but what he can NOW GIVE. When he gives, of course he gets returns, but as unintended byproducts. This echoes the words of Viktor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning: "Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself."
This is how you actually get a 10X or 100X return on such an investment, like joining a mastermind or investing in a mentorship.
Rather than focusing on what you can get, use your skills and capabilities to give.
Joe Polish actually has a very specific outline for how this works. He calls it his "Magic Rapport Formula," and it includes the following ideas:
- Focus on how you will help them reduce their suffering
- Invest time, money, and energy on relationships
- Be the type of person they would always answer the phone for
- Be useful, grateful, and valuable
- Treat others how you would love to be treated
- Avoid formalities, be fun and memorable, not boring
- Appreciate people
- Give value on the spot
- Get as close to in-person as you can
I've experienced first-hand how Joe applies these ideas in his relationships. His core value is to help people. He even has a name for that core value: Be the first domino.
In his own words, here is what Joe Polish means by this core value:
The way I think about this is that I'm like the initiator of a lot of outcomes, connections, relationships and results for people in my Genius Network. Underlying this "First Domino" effect are some philosophical beliefs I have, such as: Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker, so be a giver (but don't be a stupid giver and let people take advantage of you); Be nice to the people you meet on the way up, they are the same people you will meet on the way down; Leave the campfire better off than it was before you showed up; and many more. Ultimately, it all comes back to connection. Everything I do is about connecting with yourself and connecting with others.
Having learned and watched Joe Polish apply this principle, I decided to make it one of my core philosophies as well. Being a part of Joe's mastermind group, my goal is not to see how I can make a return on my investment. I already know that return will come if I apply Joe's perspectives (and Frankl's).
Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.
So instead of seeking for what I can get, my ambition is to help Joe as much as I can. I also seek to use the capabilities I've worked so hard to develop to help as many other people as I can.
In doing this, I've found far more purpose.
I've found far more joy in my work.
I'm far happier with the investment I made in my own self-improvement.
This thinking and living is allowing me to not only 10X or 100X my investment, but to 10X my mindset.
I ended up joining Joe's 100K group. That investment cost me $100,000. And I'm excited to see how I can use that investment to multiply and help Joe, and to help the other members of the group.